Q: All my exterior lights work (brake, signal, hazard, reverse, etc.) EXCEPT running tail lights

asked by on August 03, 2016

My issue is that all my lights work - blinkers, hazards, reverse, brake, fog, etc. except the running tail lights. The biggest issue is that I've looked everywhere and no one seems what it is. I've check for ground (DONE), I've check for fuses (DONE), I've check for bad bulbs (DONE), I've check pretty much everything. My biggest issue is that the wire that goes to the left and right Taillamp is the same that goes into the brake light... therefore when I push in the brake light I get 12V, otherwise (with the lights on) I get 3.3V. Please help... people say I have a back electronic control module (cost $450) but other say it could be a relay.

My car has 141000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Lights (Headlamps/beams/brakes) Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

If you are certain all fuses are good/tight, grounds are good and all bulbs are correct in voltage for the vehicle, I have a suggestion from personal experience with a MK 5 Jetta sitting right outside. Make sure the front marker lights are working. The issue we were experiencing with this Jetta was similar. When switching the lights on, the left rear marker would light for a brief moment, then go out and set a bulb fault on the instrument cluster.

After spending a bit of time on that, we found the left FRONT marker light in the headlight housing was out. The bulb was found to be good upon removal and inspection, but the terminals had a bit of corrosion, giving a poor ground. After cleaning the contacts with a bit of emery cloth and reinstalling the socket, both front and rear bulbs are working properly.

If you need some help with this, consider YourMechanic, as a mobile expert can come to you and diagnose your lights firsthand. Best of luck.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

O/D off sensor lit up on the dashboard.

Hi there. I recommend changing the transmission fluid first to see if there is any contanimates in the oil and filter. If the fluid is dirty then the sensors will not work very good. If the fluid is good and...

car cranks but no start

Hi Ricardo. Thanks for sending in your question. If you've received all of these error codes, then there are two possibilities. First, that there are multiple component failures on your VW Passat, or the ECU is damaged in some way,...

My interior and exterior lights do some sort of flickering or flashing.

Hello, thank you for writing in. When all lights and electronic components are experiencing these types of symptoms, it is often related to the connection rather than the battery itself. The cables should not have a build up of corrosion...

What does the chime mean?

Some of your vehicle’s warning are audible. When this is the case, a chime will sound. There are four things that will cause a charm, and no other audible noise, to sound: 1. One of the front occupants does not...

Code P2562

Hey Davon. I'd recommend reading this article on the P2562 OBD-II trouble code, as it will provide you with some great information on the cause of this code, possible sources and repair solutions. I'm not sure cleaning the turbo alone...

Loud ticking from Nissan Titan passenger side of engine

Even though it is not listed at a particular mileage, the fact that it is listed as a service indicates that it is a good idea to do that from time to time. With the mileage of your vehicle I...

Black smoke and rich fuel the codes P0191 & P0452 and short trim bank 1 & 2. Both at -28.9

Hello. You have 2 separate problems here. The P0191 (fuel rail pressure sensor circuit problem) may just be a symptom - it is reporting suspect fuel pressure on the rail. The fuel pressure on the rail is controlled by the...

I have a 3.6L leo commodore. I'm getting an error code of p0040. I need to swap the sensors plugs. Is it easy to find the connections?

Hi there. The code p0040 is for an O2 sensor connectors are being swapped. Make sure the O2 sensor connectors aren’t swapped. This can happen when work has been previously performed. Also, check for unplugged or damaged connectors, as well...

What Could Be The Problem? My car has no heat.

This may be due to a faulty heater blower motor or potentially a bad heater core. As you may know, the heater core is a small radiator like unit that circulates the hot coolant from the engine through the heater...

Related articles

How Can the Light Bulb Wiring Become Damaged?
Your Your car is as much electrical as it is mechanical. Wiring harnesses snake their way around the engine bay, and throughout the cabin of the vehicle. Most of your accessories run on electricity, and even the engine needs a...
Should You Change Your Headlight Bulbs to LED?
Headlight Headlight technology has evolved a lot over the last couple of decades. Once upon a time, cars had sealed headlights (you had to replace the housing too whenever a bulb blew). Then came permanent lenses and replaceable small bulbs...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Courtesy Light Switch
If your car's courtesy light, also known as the dome light, is not coming on, flickering, or not turning off, you may need to replace its switch.